ground- water, geo- statistics, environmental- engineering, earth- science

Heat Stored in the Oceans

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Here is an interesting chart, that I saw yesterday at the IPCC session at EGU.

It shows the energy stored in different compartments. There is more heat stored in water than say in the air, due to the larger heat capacity of water. The exchange of heat, I think, must occur via temperature. So this must have an affect on the oceans, the living beings within the oceans, and on climate.

As Steve Easterbrook points out at azimuth:

The oceans act as a huge storage heater, and will continue to warm up the lower atmosphere (no matter what changes we make to the atmosphere in the future).

IPCC AR5 WG1 Box 3 1 Fig 1

Description of this figure from IPCC

(Box 3.1 Fig 1) Plot of energy accumulation in zettajoules within distinct components of Earth’s climate system relative to 1971 and from 1971–2010 unless otherwise indicated. Ocean warming (heat content change) dominates, with the upper ocean (light blue, above 700 m) contributing more than the deep ocean (dark blue, below 700 m; including below 2000 m estimates starting from 1992). Ice melt (light grey; for glaciers and ice caps, Greenland and Antarctic ice sheet estimates starting from 1992, and Arctic sea ice estimate from 1979–2008); continental (land) warming (orange); and atmospheric warming (purple; estimate starting from 1979) make smaller contributions. Uncertainty in the ocean estimate also dominates the total uncertainty (dot-dashed lines about the error from all five components at 90% confidence intervals).

A good discussion about this topic, also related to the uncertainties in the predictions related to stored heat can be found at Climate Etc.

Written by Claus

May 1st, 2014 at 2:49 pm

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